Wednesday, January 07, 2009

again, don't listen to the republicans on the economy

The editorialists at the Washington Post, allegedly a liberal newspaper, is again proving its Republican tendencies. Remember, this was the chief cheerleader for war with Iraq. Now it is cheering for a "cautious" economic stimulus package. The economically illiterate editorialists think it is just fine if the stimulus package is delayed because they're afraid it will make the deficit higher.

They are okay with that even though there are sirens going off all over the economy about its sharp downturn, the latest being declines in orders from US factories. Even though unemployment is going up - only 4.4% in the DC area because of the US government, but 6.7% nationally and heading higher. Even though the Federal Reserve sees a significant risk of a "prolonged contraction" - and the Fed, with interest rates near zero, is running low on actions it can take beyond quantitative easing. And tax cuts only help people with JOBS. Deficits can be dealt with later. But every month somebody is unemployed is a month he or she can't get back, and a month of damage to the economy AND to our ability to pay off the huge deficits that de facto President George W. Bush and the pander-to-the-rich Republican Congress has bequeathed us all.

It's like the Post editorialists don't read their own newspaper. And they want Obama to get significant buy-in from the Republican minority in Congress. Why? First of all, they are two-faced and economically stupid. Senator Mitch McConnell, who all of a sudden is a budget hawk - why not when Bush was still around, Mitch? - wants the Feds to loan states money. But the states can't afford to take on new debts. Harold Myerson points out this was tried in 1932 under that other brilliant Republican president, Herbert Hoover. And back then, the states also declined the offer, and the economic crisis grew worse.

And beyond their stupid and narrowly partisan ideas, why go out of the way for GOP support? Because you know damn well that if the economy is still in bad shape two or four years from now, they will campaign against Obama and the Democrats whether the Republicans vote for a stimulus package or not. Don't give them the chance to backstab you, Team Obama and Congressional Democrats. Work with the sane ones like Senators Snowe and Collins. Come up with a stimulus package that has some chance of working and is not overly focused on tax cuts. Dare the Republicans to vote against them. When they DO, make sure everybody knows that the Republicans supported bailouts for Wall Street bankers, but refused to extend unemployment benefits, Medicaid, and the like for regular Americans who have lost their job in large part because of the sheer stupidity of the financial crowd.

Don't cave in to the GOP because they will screw you over no matter what you do. Accept that, and move on to do what is best for the economy, rather than caving into the tax-cutting supply side orthodoxy of the modern Republican party.

And remember: YOU WON THE ELECTION. Act like it.

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